TODAY the Stroud News & Journal joins the campaign calling on the secretary of state Eric Pickles to intervene and appoint a government inspector to determine the highly controversial £500 million Javelin Park planning application.
The organisations, local authorities and individuals listed below along with the protest group GlosVAIN have either already written to the communities secretary asking him to 'call-in' the incinerator application or have expressed their strong and unequivocal opposition to it.
Cheltenham Borough Council will debate the issue on February 8 and is also likely to request the application be called-in.
Readers of the SNJ are encouraged to sign-up to the campaign and make their voices heard by cutting-out and sending off the enclosed letter in today's newspaper (January 30 edition), which urges Mr Pickles to take action and call-in the proposal.
We also hope that many of our readers will add their names to the online government e-petition at: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43257
More than 3,000 members of the public have already registered objections to the planning application on the county council's website and in the past petitions against the development have attracted more than 5,000 signatures.
- Stroud Town Council
- Stonehouse Town Council
- Haresfield Parish Council
- Moreton Valence Parish Council
- Standish Parish Council
- Uckington Parish Council
- Bishops Cleeve Parish Council
- Leckhampton Parish Council
- Randwick Parish Council
- Churchdown Parish Council
- Natural England
- The Cotswold Conservation Board
- English Heritage
- The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE)
- Friends of the Earth
- Gloucestershire Vale Against Incineration (GlosVAIN)
- Gloucestershire Against Incineration (GlosAIN)
- Safety in Waste and Rubbish Disposal (SWARD)
- Blooms Garden Centre
- Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood
- Former Stroud MP David Drew
- Jonathon Porritt (Former director of Friends of the Earth and co-founder of Forum for the Future)
The SNJ is supporting the 'call-in' campaign because we are deeply concerned that the following points will not be given full-consideration by GCC's planning committee:
- There is evidence that the UK already has too many incinerators and that there will be overcapacity in the South West region by 2015/2016. This prediction is made by waste consultants Eunomia who have themselves been used by GCC.
- It has been estimated that up to 50 per cent of the waste burned in incinerators in the UK is recyclable or compostable. In Europe, incinerators have been shown to harm recycling rates.
- Newer, cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternatives to incineration exist. Most of these waste disposal technologies result in less carbon emissions being emitted because they recycle rubbish which would otherwise be burnt in an incinerator.
- It is claimed some of these modern waste disposal facilities actually cost half as much to build and treat rubbish at half the cost.
- The £500 million cost to the taxpayer does not appear to represent good value for money.
- It is argued that incineration is already outdated technology but the county council are planning to sign a contract which would commit them to burning waste for 25 years. This could prevent them from taking advantage of superior technological solutions as they emerge.
- The proposed location of the plant, less than a mile away from the nationally important Cotswold AONB and in pristine countryside, appears to be highly unsuitable.
- Scientific experts working with the Health Protection Agency are currently undertaking research exploring a possible link between incinerator emissions and child deaths. Preliminary results of their study will not be published until 2014 - a year after building work on the Gloucestershire incinerator is scheduled to start.
- The ability of councillors to make an objective decision on the planning application is in doubt given that a compensation clause means GCC have a financial interest in approving the facility.
- The original case officer tasked with handling the planning application was reassigned to other duties by GCC bosses after expressing his desire to recommend it for refusal or deferral.
- GCC has overestimated the amount of waste being produced in the county. It is suggested not enough waste is being created to justify such a large-scale facility. There is speculation the shortfall will be made up by importing waste from outside the county - but the Gloucestershire taxpayer is footing the bill for the incinerator.
- The EU is considering banning the incineration of recyclable waste by 2020, meaning even less rubbish would be available to put into the incinerator, potentially undermining the business case for Javelin Park.
Click here to read why the SNJ believes a 'call-in' is the fairest way forward.